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Category Archives: Divorce

Stop The World & Melt With You

Is it just me or do governments at war sound an awful lot like two ten-year-olds in a dispute over who has the right to the last ice cream sandwich. One eventually punches or slaps the other and then justifies it by claiming the other one looked at them funny. Before long they’re screaming at each other, hitting, kicking, calling each other names all insisting that the other one started it with neither noticing that the ice cream sandwich has melted.

With the sandwich now gone, you would assume the conflict would end. cookie2k

Hell no! Now they’re going to fight over whose fault it is that the ice cream sandwich melted. Somehow they’ll manage to pull everyone around them into their newly created drama with different siblings and friends choosing sides. This will eventually last for decades as they tell their own children about how their brother caused the last ice cream sandwich to melt, depriving them and their descendants of any chance at divine happiness. Centuries later it will become a religious holiday whereby they will celebrate each year by gathering around a table. Each person will then break off a piece of a stale cookie sheet symbolizing the empty shell of the ice cream sandwich.

Businesses will capitalize on the conflict creating ice cream sandwich trinkets, key chains, t-shirts and necklesses. Hallmark will create a “Merry Ice Cream Sandwich Day” card. There will be songs written, TV specials, movies, documentaries, books, poems and plays on Broadway.

Fighting will continue for generations, with each carrying the torch from their ancestors. It will eventually no longer be about the ice cream sandwich but the pride of a people and their hatred for the other side. Lactose intolerant groups will protest claiming discrimination. Dairy Queens will be bombed. Innocent people who don’t even like ice cream will die as they walk through the frozen food section at Kroger.

And it all will have been avoidable if the parents of the two kids who started this whole thing would have just sent them both to their room without ice cream for acting like brats in the first place.

 

 
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Posted by on July 18, 2014 in Divorce

 

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Moving On

Three years after my divorce, I am strongly considering selling the big house and downsizing. We won’t move far. We’ll stay close to their mom and all of their friends. This is more about simplifying our lives than anything else. Smaller house, smaller payment, less things. I’ve talked about it before, but this is farther than we’ve ever gone. I initially bought out my ex for her half to ensure the kids would be able to stay, at least half the time, in the house they knew as home and their foundation. That was important to me. We were turning their world upside down. Felt like they deserved to at least be able to lay their head down at night in a familiar space that made them feel secure. I knew at some point we’d probably move, but not until it felt right. Now after three years, with the encouragement of the kids, we’ve determined that it feels right.

We really do need time to heal and regain our wits. Three years down the road, I would never recommend anyone make any huge changes immediately after a divorce. It’s difficult to explain because in theMovingDay moment all you want to do is move on and start over. But I promise you, you’re not ready. You’re going to need some time to regroup. Some things you won’t have any control over. But I found for us that maintaining as much normalcy as possible had its benefits.

I never anticipated the emotional impact the thought of moving would have. Perhaps on some level I kept the house for my own sanity as well, not fully prepared to rip myself from that part of my life. But what an enormous step emotionally it has been to consciously make the choice to move forward and say goodbye to the past. To let go. To accept. To feel a confidence in knowing you’re ready to roll. There is a true cleansing taking place. A sense of renewal. An excitement of starting a new chapter. I’ve held on long enough as have the kids. I wouldn’t have done it any differently. So glad we stayed. It hurt like hell financially, but was worth every penny.

Along with being able to take my time in preparing the house, going through everything and making decisions with a clear head; doing it this way has allowed the kids to be a part of the move. It’s partly their choice. They have some say. With the divorce they had none. Had we moved then it would have been the same thing. “We’re moving because of the divorce.” This way it’s their decision as much as it is mine. We’re looking at new houses together. Discussing the options. The pros and cons. Working together as a team. Moving on as a team. Helping each other through the different aspects of what it means to say goodbye to a house that has been our home for ten years. But we’re doing it on “our” terms, not just mine. They’re excited which I don’t think would have been the case three years ago.

 

 

 

 

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How To Eat An Elephant

I’ve been told the best way to eat an elephant (although I’m not sure I would actually wish to do that) is one bite at a time. How many times have you looked at your day the same way saying to yourself, “Perhaps I’ve bitten off more than I can chew.”

The mass of tasks that surround us from time to time can appear overwhelming and undoable when you look at it as a whole. If you’re like me, you see twenty things that need to get done and your system initially shuts down out of an inability to comprehend how you’re going to get it all completed. I actually find it odd that the more we have tohow-to-eat_an_elephant1 accomplish, the less inclined we are to attack any of it.

As a video director I work off of the same philosophy when filming. Often we attempt to capture too much with one shot which makes it impossible for the viewer to know what they’re supposed to be focused on. The best thing to do is to choose one subject, focus on it and blur out everything around it so you can keep your attention on just one thing for a while. Then move to a second shot when you’re ready. Eventually you end up with everything you need to put together the perfect story.

Same holds true in life. When you’re attempting to focus on too many things at once, the reality is you focus on none of it. It’s just a mass of information and your system simply can’t register it all at once. And so it shuts down.

So, make a list of things you need to get done. I know, “Really? A List? Who are you, my ex-wife?” But it works. Write down EVERYTHING that needs to happen. Pick a couple of small things, focus on them one at a time and then move on to something else. You may not get to everything in one day, but you’ll start to see things getting done which will motivate you to keep going. Before you know it you’ll look at all of the crossed off items and realize you’re capable of more than you gave yourself credit for.

The payoff, btw, is huge. The accomplishment of each task gives you a sense of moving forward and getting your life under control. Progress of any nature is empowering and it all starts with the first small bite.

 

 

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The Gravity of the Situation

I finally got around to watching “Gravity” last night, the story of two astronauts stranded in space when debris from a smashed satellite smashes into their space shuttle leaving them floating helplessly on their own with air supplies running low and no immediate obvious plan of action to get back on the solid ground.

Sound familiar divorced dad?

When you first get divorced, everything you’ve come to trust as secure and safe is shattered. In many cases, you may have had a bit of a warning, but still felt blindsided. You turn around and your world is
silent
turned upside down. You truly do feel left floating untethered to anything, completely disoriented and sucking for air convinced it’s going to be your last breathe. You panic, using even more oxygen as you attempt to stop yourself from spinning helplessly out of control.

You have two choices my friend. You can either cling to the debris that is now your life, hoping by some miracle you’ll be able to put it all back together with some duct tape and kite string. OR you can venture out into the unknown to find help and a new beginning. Living amongst the debris sucks. You know as well as I do, that attempting to piece it all back together may seem like a good idea at first, but eventually you realize you need a different plan of attack.

So you stop and suddenly realize you’re faced with the prospect of letting it all go. That is scary as hell. And it’s not going to be easy. But at some point you recognize staying behind is no longer an option.That pivotal moment when you release everything you’ve come to know as reality is a leap of faith that will cause even the strongest person a moment of panic. But stay strong. You’re in for quite a journey. Like the astronauts, think of it as your mission. You’ve been put in this position and it’s really up to you to decide whether you’re going to let your circumstances dictate your future or if you’re going to take steps to put yourself back on solid ground. Do what you need to catch your breathe, and when you’re ready, align yourself with the sun and start moving forward. After that, just take it one step at a time and keep your cool always keeping yourself pointed toward your new north star.

 

 
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Posted by on June 7, 2014 in Divorce, Uncategorized

 

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Your Own Private Idaho

If you don’t already do it, I highly recommend you find both the place and the time to step away once in a while from the craziness of your life, the pressures of your world and chaos that can overwhelm you. I personally believe this to be a necessity not a luxury. When you’re immersed in your life, it’s very difficult to gain a proper perspective of the big picture. Over time you’ll likely become drained and unable to think clearly as you’re continually bombarded with calls, e-mails, demands, needs, wants etc., making it virtually impossible to give a plan of action the proper attention and consideration. That leads to falling into survival mode rather than thinking strategy and making plans to get yourself into a better position. When you’re simple flying by the seat of your pants to survive, it’s impossible to think clearly and consider options beyond tomorrow let alone next month or next10339327_10152417504572908_8563728598664062419_o year.

For me it’s the finger lakes and whether I can afford it or not, the kids and I go every year to kick off the summer. We spend a week away from responsibilities and make every effort to focus on us, our lives and our future. The kids deserve your undivided attention when possible and this is a great way to do it. And you’ll be surprised at how clearly you can think, even when they’re with you, when the demands of your life aren’t dragging you down or pulling you away.

But whether the kids are with you or not, I believe it’s important that you discover the power of stepping back and giving yourself a chance to recharge, regroup and make a plan. Make some difficult decisions that can set you on a better course for you and your family. These should be choices that you can execute when you get back. Choices that will feel empowering as you start to build a new tomorrow that makes more sense for your new direction. Letting go of the world you built isn’t always easy, but once you can visualize where you want to see yourself a year from now, you’ll be able to recognize what steps need to be taken to get there. These calculated decisions can be made knowing there’s a purpose to each that leads to a more fitting environment for your new life. The craziness of your current life will be waiting for you as soon as you walk back in the front door, but you should be better equipped to juggle the madness again knowing you have a plan and a purpose. Yes, there will still be elements of survival to your current state, but it should be more manageable if you know in your head it’s a temporary situation, not the foundation of the rest of your life.

 

 

 

 
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Posted by on June 2, 2014 in balance, beginnings, Divorce

 

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